They say I have a criminal mind. I watch movies and TV shows and it’s not that I’m hoping the bad guys get away with it. It’s just that I understand where they’re coming from. They say this isn’t good. They could be right. I mean us fourteen year olds should probably be thinking of other things.
So I’m riding in the car with my parents after going to Taco Time for dinner. It’s during one of those weeks where they’re actually getting along and we’re acting like a family. I pretend right along with them but sometimes I ask a question that bothers them and they look at each other as if the other one is somehow responsible for the shit that comes out of my mouth. But it’s really just me thinking too much about things that people do even though they could spend the rest of their lives in prison for doing them.
“Where’s the profit in serial killing?” I ask.
“What kind of question is that?” My mom says.
“A question I want to know the answer to?”
“What your mother means is why would you ask a question like that, son?”
No. What my mother means is ‘What the hell is wrong with you?’ and that’s what you mean too. I should apologize but instead I decide to just dive in and say everything I’ve been thinking that day:
“Bank robbers, burglars and other thieves do it for the money. Rapists do it to get off. Murderers do it sometimes for the money and sometimes because that person did something they didn’t like. But serial killers murder lots of strangers, hide their bodies, and do it over and over again until they get caught. That’s a lot of work and no real payoff.”
There’s silence in the car. My Dad told me this story once about how he used to read magazines like Popular Science and Omni trying to find something his father didn’t know so that he could stump his father with a question but every time his Dad had an answer. My Dad really wanted to be like his Dad.
So I wasn’t too surprised when he was the one that answered.
“Maybe it feels good.”
“WHAT!” My mother yelled. And suddenly they weren’t getting along again.
Words by Jack Cameron
Illustration by Ossaín Ávila Cárdenas
About 15 Minute Stories
It’s good for writers to write every day, but it’s easy for life to get in the way of that. One solution I read about recently was to write a 15 minute piece of short fiction every single day for a month. You may not have time to doNaNoWriMoevery month, but if you like writing, you can always find 15 minutes.
So for the month of January, I’ll be writing and posting pieces of very short fiction that I took 15 minutes to write. I’ve asked that my friend, Ossaín Ávila Cárdenas join me by taking 15 minutes to draw an accompanying image for each story. Ossaín is one of the owners of a local zine shop in Tacoma calledThe Nearsighted Narwhal.